(Re)Design for Equity | Workforce Innovation and Learning

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Workforce programs are often complex and difficult to access and navigate. This is particularly true for communities with poor access to critical resources. Increasing equity in the workforce system requires redesigning programs to better fit a wide range of participants’ needs. We blend innovative methods from behavioral science and human-centered systems design to improve participants’ experience and success across diverse contexts.

Our Projects

Evaluations of Behavioral Interventions in Labor-Related Programs

AIR, as a sub to Mathematica, supported the U.S. Department of Labor’s Chief Evaluation Office with exploring how insights from behavioral science can be used to improve the performance and outcomes of labor-related programs. Specifically, AIR played key roles in designing behavioral trials and testing interventions focused on reducing work search errors among unemployment insurance (UI) claimants, increasing youth engagement in remote workforce services for a WIOA/TANF youth, and improving participation in the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment program.

Nebraska Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Equity Grant Project

AIR supported the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) with the implementation of its Unemployment Insurance Equity Grant project. The project aimed to address unintentional communication barriers and facilitate equitable access to NDOL’s UI program. The project began with a set of discovery activities focused on understanding the UI claimant journey and identifying opportunities for improvement. Alongside the discovery activities, AIR planned and executed a behavioral review of the state’s existing UI communication materials. AIR, then, made revised the materials to incorporate behavioral science, plain language principles, and human-centered design approaches. Additionally, AIR conducted usability tests of updated materials with UI claimants and NDOL staff members.

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Equity Grant Project

AIR is supporting the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services as it implements its Unemployment Insurance Equity Grant project. The project seeks to promote equitable access to UI benefits—especially amongst communities that have historically faced barriers to access. AIR is conducting discovery interviews, administrative data analysis, and a rapid literature scan to better understand how well claimants and employers understand and take action in response to existing UI program materials. AIR is also applying behaviorally informed strategies and plain language principals to revise and redesign priority UI program materials.